SE Queens residents sound off on education
by Jason Cohen
Apr 02, 2014 | 447 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
State Senator James Sanders
State Senator James Sanders
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The future of education in the city has been a hot topic of discussion lately, including how to fund universal pre-k and charter schools. Those issues among many others were addressed on Friday, when State Senator James Sanders held an a town hall on education at Calvary Baptist Church Senior Housing in Jamaica.

Sanders, who served as a school board president in the past, understands the anger many parents feel towards the city and urged them to lobby Albany and not just be loud at town halls.

“The problem is people in the community don’t have the power to bring change,” he said. “If we cannot educate our children, then all is for naught.”

Meryl Tisch of the New York State Board of Regents addressed the charter school issue, and said it is really hiding the larger problem of overcrowding.

“I urge all of you to move beyond this distraction of charter schools and let’s get people to focus on giving dollars to school districts who are educating 95 percent of the kids,” she said.

Sadye Campoamor, special assistant to Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina, said the chancellor’s office is emphasizing the importance of education at the middle school level.

“In order to move the needle on the graduation rate, 9th and 10th grades are just too late,” she said.

Vanessa Sparks could not hold her emotions back as she spoke to the senator, saying some parts of the city are treated differently by the Department of Education. In southeast Queens, she argued, the city simply does not care.

“They’re going to keep co-locating in areas like this because there is nothing said,” she said. “We don’t even keep our brightest kids in this district.”
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